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SERVICES SECTOR REVENUE RISES TO RM414.2 BILLION IN 2Q18

In 2Q18, the services sector’s revenue increased 8.3% to RM414.2 billion, compared with the corresponding period in 2017. The growth was propelled by wholesale and retail trade, food and beverages and the accommodation segment, which rose RM24.7 billion, or 8.1%. The expansion was also contributed by information and communication and the transportation and storage segment, which grew by RM4.6 billion.

(NST, 11/08/2018)


ECONOMISTS BULLISH ON 2Q18 GROWTH

In 2Q18, Malaysia’s economy is optimistically expected to grow to 5.8% from 5.4% in the first three months of 2018, driven largely by the domestic sector, solid labour market and improved wage growth. Private consumption is expected to remain strong, driven by the solid labour market and positive wage growth, whereas the external sector will remain resilient despite escalating trade tension.

(NST, 13/08/2018)


GOVERNMENT TO BOLSTER BUMI ECONOMIC AGENDA

The Malaysian Government will remain proactive and committed in revitalising the implementation of the Bumiputera economic agenda. The special focus will be given to bottom 40% (B40) and middle 40% (M40) households. Concurrently, existing policies will be re-evaluated and improved upon based on current needs and global economic challenges to ensure the continued and sustainable growth of the Bumiputera economic agenda and to increase the competitiveness level of Bumiputeras.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 15/08/2018)


MALAYSIA UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 3.4%, STILL UNDER CONTROL

In 1H18, Malaysia recorded an unemployment rate of 3.4%, which placed the country as “a full employment nation” based on the International Labour Organisation’s standards, whereby any country recording unemployment below 4.0% is regarded as a nation of full employment.

(The Edge Financial, 16/08/2018)


NEW HOUSING POLICY SOON

A new housing policy will be announced in the next one or two months in order to ease the process of home buyers attaining approvals on housing loans. The Ministry of Housing and Local Government is working with Bank Negara Malaysia to make it easier for home buyers to get their home loans approved. The Malaysian Government acknowledges that the ability of Malaysian citizens to purchase properties largely varies depending on their access to financing, which is currently hampered by the banks’ strict lending policies.

(The Edge Property, 11/08/2018 & The Sun, 13/08/2018)


NO SST FOR CONSTRUCTION SERVICES, SOME BUILDING MATERIALS

The pressure on house prices, industrial and commercial buildings, is expected to ease off with the abolition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the exemption of some building materials (includes cement, sand and iron) from the Sales and Services Tax (SST). The Federal Government expects both developers and buyers to benefit from the exemption of this tax burden.

(The Edge Financial, NST & The Sun, 13/08/2018)


COUNCIL TO BE REACTIVATED TO MONITOR COST OF LIVING

The Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism will reactivate the National Cost of Living Action Council to observe the impact of the Sales and Services Tax (SST), which will come into effect on September 1, 2018. A range of factors are contributing to the rising cost of living, which include the price of transportation, utilities, housing and household goods.

(NST, 13/08/2018)


SST EXEMPTION LEADS TO COST SAVINGS, BUT HOUSE PRICES DEPEND ON OTHER FACTORS TOO

Though the exemption of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) on basic building materials (constituting 67% of the cost of a residential housing project) will definitely result in savings, the extent of cost savings will only be known after the full list of SST-exempt materials is released by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department. The Construction Industry Development Board of Malaysia expects the exemption to have a positive impact in reducing construction costs.

(The Sun, 14/08/2018)


BNM TO ROLL OUT SPECIAL HOUSING LOAN IN SEPTEMBER 2018

By September 2018, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is expected to roll out a special housing loan scheme tailored for the low-to-middle income group, with regards to first-home ownership. BNM is in the process of finalising the new financing scheme with several banks, Cagamas Bhd and the housing and local government ministry. The scheme includes providing flexibility to banks in relation to lending guidelines for first-home buyers, requiring first-home buyers to attend financial counselling to receive adequate financial advice prior to undertaking a housing loan and reducing the overall cost of first-home ownership, which involves stamp duty and insurance costs.

(The Edge Financial, 14/08/2018)


CLEARING OBSTACLES ON CHINA TRIP

The Malaysian Government will seek to cancel multibillion-dollar Chinese-backed infrastructure projects, which includes the 688km East Coast Rail Link project and two gas pipelines deals that were signed in 2016. The Malaysian Government has already suspended work on the projects, which are being built by Chinese state-backed companies and has called for drastic cuts in their ballooning costs, which is estimated at more than US$22 billion (RM90.38 billion).

(The Edge Financial, The Star & NST, 14/08/2018)


NO PERMANENT OWNERSHIP STATUS FOR “NEW VILLAGES”

In accordance with the Federal Constitution, the Perak State Government is not allowed to grant 99-year leases or permanent (freehold) ownership status to “new villages”. The National Land Council meeting of April 25, 1997, stated that the lease period for “new villages” should be at least 60 years but not exceeding 99 years. This decision also binds all states in Peninsular Malaysia under the provision of Article 91 (5) of the Federal Constitution.

(The Edge Property, 14/08/2018)


KEDAH PLANS TO MAKE HOMEOWNERSHIP EASIER

The Kedah State Government will review current homeownership mechanisms and policies to make it easier for individuals in the state to own homes. The State Government will look at existing and future projects in Kedah to substantiate the launching of more affordable homes and to additionally figure out the underlying reason behind the inability of individuals to own homes by looking into their purchasing power and eligibility.

(The Edge Property, 15/08/2018)


MELAKA’S LAND RECLAMATION PROJECTS UNDER SCRUTINY

The Melaka Local Authority plans on reviewing land reclamation projects along the state’s shoreline as some parts of the sea had received freehold titles that were meant to be given a 99 year lease, prior to the completion of reclamation works. Approximately 49 companies had been given contracts for reclamation projects involving circa 9,694 acres, whereas applications for reclamations by 18 additional firms are pending approvals. The State Government is also studying the impact of land reclamation on river passages and drainage systems as there are concerns over flash floods in Melaka city during heavy rains.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


POWER ABUSE, CORRUPTION CAUSE REDUCTION OF MALAY RESERVE LAND

Abuse of power occurred at all levels of the state government, thereby causing the reduction of Malay Reserve Land (TSM) to go unchecked despite the policies and laws relating to land in each state. The Malay Consultative Council (MPM) urges the Federal Government to play a role to curb the matter and ensure that TSM was preserved. MPM is targeting to achieve at least 50% of TSM’s ownership as decreed by the Malay Rulers. Uniformity of the laws related to TSM has to be created as there are currently six different laws between the states related to TSM.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


KEDAH SETS UP TASK FORCE TO RESOLVE LAND ISSUES INVOLVING NON-MUSLIMS

The Kedah State Government has set up a task force to resolve issues pertaining to land status involving non-Muslims in the state. The task force will address the issue of land status involving Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, government-aided schools, non-Muslim houses of worship, non-Muslim cemetery sites and after-death ritual sites. The task force was assigned with gathering information and listing schools, sites of worship, cemeteries and after-death ritual sites facing land issues.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


MANDATORY SUPERVISION TO RESOLVE ABANDONED HOUSING PROJECTS

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government will make standing supervision mandatory in order to address the issue of abandoned housing projects under the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Scheme (PR1MA). Most PRIMA housing projects that were abandoned are believed to be a result of poor project supervision. This matter will be discussed at the ministry level to ensure that whatever the circumstances, supervision is to be carried out so that projects are completed successfully in order to overcome cases of abandoned projects.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


DEWAN PASSES RM6.22 BILLION SUPPLY BILL

On August 15, 2018, the Dewan Rakyat passed the Supply (Restructuring Expenditure Allocation) Bill 2018, which provides an allocation of RM6.22 billion and was tabled following several restructuring of ministries after the 14th General Election (GE14). Several ministries have been restructured and renamed and several new ministries have been set up, while one ministry has been dissolved and its functions transferred to another ministry. The Dewan Rakyat also provided an act to utilise a sum of money from the Consolidated Fund for additional expenditure on services, for part of 2018.

(The Sun, 16/08/2018)


GOVERNMENT PUTS TOLL ABOLISHMENT ON HOLD

The Malaysian Government has agreed to postpone the move to abolish toll collections until the economy stabilises. The postponement was agreed upon after the government weighed the effects of its abolition on the country’s finances. Abolishing tolls would lead to the government having to pay an estimated RM400 billion in compensation to toll concession companies.

(The Malaysian Reserve, NST & The Sun, 13/08/2018)


GOVERNMENT YET TO FINALISE ECRL’S DIRECTION

The Malaysian Government has yet to finalise the direction for the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) project and is dependent on discussions that are currently underway. The Selangor State Government had opposed the project as the rail network from Gombak to Port Klang will impact the application for the 16km-long Klang Gates Quartz Ridge as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage site. Comprehensive research has to be executed from the aspect of attaining the agreement of the Selangor State Government, relevant scopes, specifications and implementation methods in reducing overall costs and to lighten the Federal Government’s financial burden.

(The Malaysian Reserve, NST & The Star, 16/08/2018)


DISCUSSIONS ON KL-SG HSR TO CONTINUE

Discussions between Malaysia and Singapore on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project will continue in the following weeks after officially being initiated on August 11, 2018. The Ministry of Malaysia’s Economic Affairs had explained Malaysia’s position on the project to the Ministry of Singapore Transport.

(The Edge Property, 15/08/2018)


NEW FERRY TERMINAL FOR KUALA KEDAH

The Ministry of Transport will build a new ferry terminal next to the existing Kuala Kedah Ferry Terminal to provide comfort to passengers. Scheduled to be completed within two years, the new terminal is retained at its existing location but the ministry will make sure that it will not experience sedimentation and floods that were previously experienced at the existing terminal. The ministry has allocated RM208.9 million to implement the reconstruction and upgrades of the existing Kuala Kedah Ferry Terminal. The scope of the project was to raise the ground level and upgrade the drainage system. The appointment of consultants by open tender is expected to be made in December 2018, with the project commencing in 3Q19.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


KEDAH WANTS LRT SERVICE FOR MAJOR TOWNS

The Kedah State Government intends to link major urban centres in the state by a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. The Kedah State Government had identified new bus companies to provide stage bus services (SBST), especially in the state’s major towns. Several routes had to be terminated due to a low number of passengers, as it was difficult for the companies to meet high operational costs. The government will look for ways to improve the quality of SBST and to encourage more people to use the bus service, including providing a free wifi service.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018 & The Sun, 17/08/2018)


SIME DARBY PROPERTY INVITES BIDS FOR TWO PARCELS

Sime Darby Property is inviting bids for two parcels of residential land in Kuala Lumpur and Penang Island as they do not fall under the company’s key development focus, given the small sizes of said parcels. The 1.16 acre land in Kuala Lumpur is located in the U-Thant area, whereas the 1.71 acre land in Penang is situated in Pulau Tikus. The Jalan U-Thant land is vacant, with approvals already attained for a luxury residential development, whereby the freehold parcel in Penang is located in an affluent and exclusive area.

(The Edge Property, 11/08/2018)


LB ALUMINIUM DIVERSIFIES INTO PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT

LB Aluminium Bhd is acquiring a 20% equity interest in Vistarena Development Sdn Bhd for RM6 million to expand into property development. Vistarena owns land measuring an aggregate of 5.32 acres in Mukim Petaling, which is slated for the development of apartments, Rumah Wilayah Persekutuan, and 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing Programme (PPA1M).

(The Edge Property, 15/08/2018)


ORIENTAL INTEREST PURCHASES RM36 MILLION PLOT IN KEDAH TO EXPAND LANDBANK

Oriental Interest Bhd is acquiring 152 acres of agricultural land for RM36.45 million in Bandar Kulim, Kedah, from MBAS Jaya Sdn Bhd to increase its landbank. The group optimistically expects the proposed acquisition to be completed within 14 months from the date stipulated in the sale and purchase agreement.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


SCIENTEX TO ACQUIRE MELAKA LAND FOR MIXED DEVELOPMENT

Scientex Bhd is acquiring two contiguous pieces of freehold agriculture land measuring a combined 208.9 acres in Alor Gajah, Melaka, for RM68.25 million, from Real Golden Development Sdn Bhd. Scheduled to complete the proposed acquisition in 1H19, Scientex plans to develop the lands as a mixed property development scheme.

(The Edge Financial, The Sun, The Star & NST, 16/08/2018)


PELABURAN HARTANAH TO DEVELOP 4 NEW PROJECTS

With an estimated gross development value of RM1.5 billion, Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd (PHB) is developing two projects at Jalan Bangsar and two projects on Jalan Conlay, a private hospital development in Penchala, Kuala Lumpur, and shopping centres in Terengganu. The Bangsar “61 development” project comprises three office towers, an iconic tower, one hotel tower and two serviced apartment towers, whereas the “Conlay 301” project on Jalan Conlay is a mixed development. PHB is developing a 300 bed private hospital, which will be managed by KPJ Healthcare Bhd and the shopping malls in Terengganu will be operated by SOGO operators.

(The Edge Financial, The Star & NST, 16/08/2018)


GABUNGAN AQRS SECURES RM115 MILLION FACILITY TO FINANCE E-ISLAND PROJECT

Gabungan AQRS Bhd’s wholly-owned unit, AQRS The Building Company Sdn Bhd (AQRS TBC), has secured a RM115 million Islamic banking facility from Maybank Islamic Bank Bhd to partially finance the construction of its E-Island Residence development. RM10 million has been allocated towards land and RM105 million for construction, the latter of which will be split into four tranches. The first two tranches amount to RM20 million each while the third and fourth limit allocation will be advised at a later date. The E-Island Residence project, located in Dengkil, comprises four 19-storey blocks, which will house a total of 1,140 residential units including basement level car parks.

(The Edge Property, 14/08/2018)


TARGET OF 1 MILLION PR1MA HOMES OFF BY 983,318

Approximately 16,682 units of 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA) homes have been completed within the past 5 years out of the targeted one million by 2020. The PR1MA programme aims to build quality houses for the middle income group, which includes households with an income of between RM2,500 and RM15,000 per month. Perak has been on the receiving end for most of the units thus far, at 6403 PR1MA homes, followed by Kedah with 3,341 homes. In 14 states overall, there are currently 130 projects under construction, with 131,000 units, whereas 268,000 units were approved at policy stage.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


THE NEXT EPICENTRE OF KL

With a gross development value of approximately RM430 million, Opus Kuala Lumpur (Opus KL) is located on a 1.38 acre freehold site in Jalan Talalla, Kampung Attap. The two 32-storey towers of Opus KL comprises 357 units of high-end serviced apartments, with built ups ranging between 700 sq. ft. and 1,153 sq. ft. Approximately 92% of Opus KL has been sold, whereby the majority of buyers are Malaysians, 15% are from Hong Kong and 15% are from China. The first tower was launched in June 2014, whereby the selling price for each apartment was between RM1,500 and RM1,600 per sq. ft. The second tower was launched in June 2015, with a selling price ranging between RM1,500 and RM2,100 per sq. ft.

(NST, 16/08/2018)


HILLTOP HOMES IN GENTING HIGHLANDS

Built on 5.57 acres of freehold land, “Windmill Upon Hills” by OSK Property has a gross development value of RM711 million and comprises four blocks of residential units. Totalling 1,108 units, the development comprises three 42-storey residential towers, along with a 32-storey studio tower, all of which offer built-up areas ranging between 688 sq. ft. and 1,523 sq. ft. Priced from RM560,000, the project is currently 70% sold and is slated for completion in 2019.

(The Edge Property, 17/08/2018)


MATRIX CONCEPTS PLANS LAUNCHES WORTH RM1.6 BILLION

In FY19, Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd aims to launch RM1.6 billion worth of new properties due to resilient demand from home buyers. The new launches planned for FY19 are mainly located within its township developments namely, Bandar Sri Sendayan in Negri Sembilan and Bandar Seri Impian in Johor. In 2H18, the group will also be launching its first high-rise serviced apartment in Kuala Lumpur, “Chambers Kuala Lumpur”.

(The Sun, The Star & NST, 17/08/2018)


VIVOCOM SECURES RM12.6 MILLION CRCC JOB

Vivocom International Holdings Bhd has secured a RM12.6 million contract from CRCC Malaysia Bhd to supply labour, tools and equipment for the construction of the reinforced concrete structure and structural steel works for an office tower. The project is scheduled to be completed by May 31, 2019.

(The Edge Property & NST, 14/08/2018)


MUDAHJAYA CONTRACT CANCELLED

Mudajaya Group Bhd’s RM118.6 million contract to build a 16-storey tower in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, has been terminated by KLIA Consortium and the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB). In October 2017, Mudajaya secured the contract to build the proposed 16 storey Hevea Tower in Sungai Buloh, which was set to be MRB’s corporate headquarters. KLIA Associates Sdn Bhd and KLIA Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd, which formed the KLIA Consortium, were appointed by MRB as the project delivery partner. In December 2013, MRB signed an agreement to develop its headquarters and to additionally develop a research and development centre, a college, a rubber discovery museum centre and a business cluster on its 535 acres of land, which is scheduled to be completed by August 30, 2018.

(The Malaysian Reserve, The Edge Financial, The Star & The Sun, 16/08/2018)


PAVILION REIT SHOWS INTEREST IN MALTON’S OFFER

Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has accepted an offer from Malton Bhd to participate in the ownership of Pavilion Bukit Jalil. Pavilion REIT and Malton shall enter into a non-disclosure agreement to commence due diligence, discussions on method of participation and to negotiate relevant terms and conditions.

(The Edge Property & The Sun, 14/08/2018)


A&W MALAYSIA PLANS 12 NEW OUTLETS IN MAJOR CITIES

Fast food chain A&W (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd intends to strengthen its position in the local food and beverage (F&B) segment by opening 10 to 12 new outlets by 2019. In 2H18, the company planned to open seven branches, of which five of them offer drive-through services. The new branches will be located in several major cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Ipoh and Penang, as the presence of the fast food restaurant was still low in these areas.

(NST, 15/08/2018)


CJ WOW SHOP EXPECTS TO HIT 1 MILLION CUSTOMERS

CJ Wow Shop, an innovative home shopping network, is expected to hit one million customers by September 2018, since its inception in April 2016. To date, their subscriber base has grown by 56% at 970,000 customers, from the end of 2017. With the current focus, CJ Wow Shop is poised to finish on a strong note as it aims to surpass the RM200 million annual revenue mark by the end of 2018.

(NST, 15/08/2018)


SHOPEE, DHL UNIT SIGN PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

DHL eCommerce, a unit of Deutsche Post DHL Group, has partnered with Shopee Malaysia to boost its growth in Malaysia. The partnership will allow sellers on Shopee to ship their goods via DHL with next-day deliveries to 92% of postal codes across Malaysia and two to three days in other remote areas. The e-commerce industry cannot exist without a strong and efficient logistics system as it is a crucial component of the entire online shopping process. The compound annual growth rate of e-commerce in Malaysia is projected to be circa 22% between 2018 and 2022 and total retail market share is expected to increase from 3% to 6.9% by 2022.

(The Malaysian Reserve & NST, 16/08/2018)


LAZADA, SHOPEE, 11STREET TOP E-COMMERCE RANKING

In 2Q18, Lazada, Shopee and 11Street have been ranked the top three companies in terms of the most visited websites in Malaysia, according to iPrice Group’s Map of E-Commerce (MoE) list. Lazada was top in traffic ranking with 27.99 million visitors and 25.5 million Facebook followers. It took second place for app downloads, whereas Twitter had 31,035 followers. Shopee took second place in traffic ranking with 12.3 million visitors, whereas 11Street came in third place with 6.4 million visitors. The top three most visited Malaysian-based e-commerce platforms were Lelong, GoShop (818,000 visitors) and Hermo (758,000 visitors). In the fashion, health and beauty category, Hermo, Fashion Valet, Poplook, Babydash and Naelofar Hijab were the five most visited Malaysian-based e-commerce platforms as of 2Q18.

(The Sun, 15/08/2018)


KR1M 2.0 EXPECTED TO BE REBRANDED, AGAIN

The Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) programme, which was suspended in 2017 and re-launched in February 2018, is expected to undergo yet another rebranding exercise. The programme, now known as KR1M 2.0, was re-launched in February 2018 and will now persist after certain restructuring works. Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (PNS) was appointed to spearhead the programme by collaborating with strategic partners, with a target of 3,000 outlets nationwide in three years. Tunas Manja Group and KK Super Mart are the first two retailers that PNS started working with for KR1M 2.0., whereby to date, KK Super Mart has converted 16 of its outlets into KR1M 2.0 stores.

(The Sun, 16/08/2018)


14 TENDER PACKAGES FOR FOOD & BEVERAGE OUTLETS AT KLIA ISSUED

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has issued 14 tender packages for retail as well as food and beverage (F&B) outlets at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The packages comprise 22 lots in total and are divided into two groups of a package deal category and a standard category. Under the package deal, bidders can choose to tender for a four-lot package, which covers retail outlets for news, books and conveniences at various locations within KLIA.

The location for the four-lot package is at the international arrival level (airside) of the main terminal building, whereas the standard package tenders offer bidders the opportunity to operate retail outlets in a multitude of categories, with lot sizes under the standard package tenders ranging between 269 sq. ft. and 1,378 sq. ft.

(The Edge Financial & The Sun, 17/08/2018)


KOMPLEKS PENCHALA REFURBISHED AND RENAMED: KOMPLEKS WAN KIEN

“Kompleks Penchala” has been refurbished and rebranded as “Kompleks Wan Kien” by City Motors Group. “Kompleks Wan Kien”, located on 2.2 acres of land that was purchased in 2018 by the company, cost RM2 million to refurbish, and has a total rentable area of 130,000 sq. ft.

City Motors Group will also be embarking on the development of two multimillion tower projects in Bangsar and Bukit Bintang. Scheduled to be ready for preview in the early 2019, the Bangsar development on Jalan Maarof is a 48 storey skyscraper which comprises a hotel component and serviced apartments. Meanwhile, Bintang Walk will be a freehold, mixed development with serviced apartments and a hotel.

(The Edge Property, 13/08/2018)


MK LAND, PERAK MB INC SIGN MOU FOR AFFORDABLE HOMES

MK Land Holdings Bhd and Perak Mentri Besar Inc (MB Inc) have entered into a memorandum of understanding to construct 1,100 affordable homes in Simpang Pulai, Perak. The 226 acre land will be developed as an affordable housing and mixed development project with 2,400 homes, 1,100 of which will comprise affordable terraced homes. Phase one of the project will entail approximately 200 affordable homes, with prices starting from RM70,000, aimed at B40 (bottom 40%) households with household incomes below RM3,800 per month. As the project will be cross-subsidised, the non-affordable housing components will entail other housing and commercial aspects such as shoplots and public amenities, including a townhall, park and places of prayer. Construction of 200 homes within Phase 1 will commence by the end of October 2018, with an expected completion within two and a half years, whereas the entire project will be completed within eight to nine years.

(The Malaysian Reserve, The Edge Financial & The Star, 16/08/2018)


STRATA RETAIL ELEMENTS TO BOOST COMMERCIAL VITALITY IN SEREMBAN 2

In 1Q19, IJM Land Bhd plans to launch “Grand Central” on a 26.8 acre freehold land adjacent to Mydin Hypermarket and will be developed in three phases over the next five to seven years. Set to be the commercial business district of Seremban 2, “Grand Central” comprises a retail component, shopping mall, healthcare facility, convention centre and serviced apartments. With an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM110 million, Phase 1 comprises 156 units of 3-storey lifestyle strata shop offices measuring 24 ft. x 80 ft. and 24 ft. x 70 ft., or a built-up size of approximately 5,500 sq. ft., of which the selling price will be determined at a later stage. Phase 2 and Phase 3 are still at planning stage.

In 2H18, IJM Land will be rolling out three residential projects in Seremban 2, with a total estimated GDV of RM188 million. Set to be launched in 3Q18, the 16-storey “Safira Apartment” will offer 242 freehold apartments with a built-up area of 873 sq. ft. With an estimated GDV of RM75 million, the selling price ranges between RM280,000 and RM320,000. Slated for launch in September 2018 is “Ara Impian”, which has an estimated GDV of RM56 million. It comprises 119 freehold 2-storey linked houses measuring 20 ft. x 65 ft., with a built-up size of 1,688 sq. ft. and priced from RM450,000.

In 4Q18, landed housing project “Rimbun Alam” will be unveiled in Seremban 2 Heights. With an estimated GDV of RM57 million, “Rimbun Alam” will offer 102, 2-storey linked houses measuring 20 ft. x 70 ft. or a built-up of 2,224 sq. ft., with an indicative selling price starting from RM560,000

(The Edge Financial, 17/08/2018)


SECOND TARIFF INCREASE DEFERRED TO MARCH 1, 2019

The second phase of the increase in Port Klang’s container tariffs will be deferred to March 1, 2019, from September 1, 2018. The Ministry of Transport has agreed to the deferment to grant more time to port users and other industry players for businesses to adapt and stabilise towards the implementation of the Sales and Services Tax (SST), which will be reintroduced on September 1, 2018.

(NST & The Sun, 13/08/2018)


DECLINE IN MINING ACTIVITIES EASES JUNE 2018 IPI GROWTH TO 1.1%

In June 2018, Malaysia’s industrial production index (IPI) growth eased to its slowest pace in four years to 1.1% Y-o-Y against 3% Y-o-Y in 2017, due to a decline in mining activities. IPI growth was driven by positive growth in manufacturing (4.5%) and electricity (3%) indices, whereas the mining index posted a decline to -9.4% (May 2018: -0.5%).

(The Star & The Sun, 13/08/2018)


INDUSTRY 4.0 POLICY COMPLETED

According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), the Malaysian Government has completed the draft of the National Policy on Industry 4.0 and will make an announcement on the new policy shortly. The government will serve as an enabler in driving the digital transformation in manufacturing and related services sector. The government has undertaken all due processes in finalising the draft policy including engaging as many stakeholders as possible and will continue with these engagements during the implementation phase. The Ministry is also planning to formulate a new industrial master plan post-2020 focusing on the sustainable development of industries, such as green technology initiatives and the horizontal and vertical value chain of the manufacturing sector.

(The Sun, 14/08/2018)


MAHB POSTS HIGHEST PASSENGER TRAFFIC IN JULY 2018

In July 2018, Airports in Malaysia registered an increase to a 2.2% Y-o-Y growth or 8.6 million passengers compared with the corresponding month in 2017. The international sector recorded a 5.1% growth or 4.6 million passengers and the domestic sector’s numbers declined by 1%, to four million passengers.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 13/08/2018)


AIRBNB OFFERS TO COLLECT TOURISM TAX

Airbnb has offered to collect and remit tourism tax on behalf of its listed members despite no formal decision by the government over the matter.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 13/08/2018)


SINGAPORE BENCHMARK FOR MALAYSIA IN BIZ TOURISM

Malaysia is looking at Singapore as a benchmark to bring in more business tourism into the country, which includes the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) segment, with a target of 10% to 15% of overall tourism receipts by 2020. Currently, the MICE segment contributes approximately 8% to total tourism receipts. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture’s target is to achieve an optimistic 36 million tourists by 2020, generating RM168 billion in tourism receipts.

(The Sun, 14/08/2018)


TPG CAPITAL BACK ON MALAYSIA HEALTHCARE SCENE

US-based private equity (PE) fund, TPG Capital Asia, is back on the Malaysian healthcare scene with a stake in Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur (CVSKL). CVSKL is a 60-bed RM270 million private hospital specialising in heart treatment, which is located in the KL Sentral business district and opened in November 2017.

(The Star, 17/08/2018)


LACK OF INCENTIVES FOR GREEN PROJECTS: REHDA

The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) highlighted that there is a “lack of incentives” to encourage developers to embark on green building development (particularly financial incentives), which do not mitigate the high upfront cost of green buildings. Developers face financial risks, including 15% to 20% higher initial capital costs, for green buildings, which is inclusive of new technology and innovative technology methods or techniques, green rating assessment fees, design fees, professional fees, procurement of new technology or materials and longer planning periods. Developers also face demand risk, where developers construct and supply products in accordance to “buyers’ demands” and preferences, however do not receive direct benefits from the energy-efficient investment. Instead, developers bear the extra cost of the new technologies involved, which is only passed on to house buyers in the form of higher selling prices when the home is purchased. Rehda also pointed out that green building technology and materials have to be imported and that there is a lack of legislative framework for green technology and building codes and regulations.

(The Sun, 17/08/2018)


DEVELOPERS HOPE FOR PROPOSED AFFORDABLE HOUSING ENTITY TO BE THOROUGH

The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) hopes that the proposed single entity to oversee affordable housing will be capable of rectifying issues faced within the affordable housing segment. Developers are looking forward to the one-stop agency providing them with appropriate guidelines and engagements.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


KL TO ATTEMPT UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE STATUS

Kuala Lumpur has the potential to qualify for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) listing, but some elements that disrupt the landscape of the city may hinder this. For instance, Light Rail Transit lines cut across some of the old buildings along the heritage trail and to qualify for Unesco World Heritage status, a location must prove to have outstanding universal value, which is one of the 10 selection criteria. The current Unesco sites in Malaysia include the historic cities of Penang and Melaka, Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Kinabalu Park in Sabah, and the Lenggong Valley archaeological site in Perak.

(The Edge Property, 15/08/2018)


LOCAL SMES TOP 4 IN DIGITAL ECONOMY PLATFORM ADOPTION

Malaysia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are among the top four leading countries in Asia Pacific (APAC) to adopt digital economy platforms. FedEx Express’ “Global is the New Local” digital economy and Industry 4.0 survey exhibited that Malaysian SMEs have an 88% adoption rate behind Vietnam (95%), the Philippines (93%) and China (90%). The survey puts Malaysia ahead of the more developed economies of Singapore (67%), South Korea (59%) and Japan (39%). Based on the survey, Malaysia has managed to surpass South Korea and Japan due to the country’s high mobile penetration rate and the lack of interest in the digital economy among their SMEs.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 15/08/2018)


JOHOR TO RECEIVE US$400 MILLION INVESTMENT FROM CHINA

Johor State will receive US$400 million worth of new investments via “thread and tyre” production companies from China. Worth US$200 million each, a thread mill will be established in Senai and a tyre factory will be built in Segamat. Apart from China, several French companies based in Singapore have also expressed interest in investing in the state. A French company will move its operations from Singapore to Johor in the near future, and it is currently in the midst of identifying a suitable location to set up operations.

(The Edge Property & The Star, 14/08/2018)


JSCI DELEGATES HEADING ABROAD ON MISSIONS TO WOO INVESTORS TO JOHOR

In 2018, the Johor State Government via the Johor State Investment Centre (JSIC) will embark on several missions abroad to attract investors to the state. Objectives include providing information on potential investment opportunities in the state and pursuing foreign investors. The Johor State Government has also sought to explore new industry sectors with the focus on “high-tech”, “high-value” and “halal”, which are referred to as “3H”.

(NST, 14/08/2018)


JOHOR TO REVIEW OPEN TENDER SYSTEM

The Johor State Government will review the open tender system and look into agreements with concession companies to ensure that projects are not merely handed out to large companies, thereby leading to monopolies. The State Government was evaluating two mega projects in Johor including the High-Speed Rail and Eco Park in Kulai, which led to the identification of several issues such as the element of pricing.

(The Edge Property, 12/08/2018; NST & The Sun, 13/08/2018)


PLAN TO DEVELOP COOPERATIVES IN JOHOR

The Johor State Government via the Malaysian Cooperative Societies Commission is planning and implementing several short and long-term programmes to develop cooperatives in the state. The programmes include business development, cooperative culture, development assistance and circulating capital funding.

(The Sun, 16/08/2018)


JOHOR TO IMPROVE RENT-TO-OWN HOUSING SCHEME

The Johor State Government will continue and improve the state’s rent-to-own housing programme known as the “Jauhar Prihatin”. The Johor state secretary’s office housing department is monitoring 8,459 houses under the scheme, whereas 5,423 houses were being monitored by Generasi Takzim Sdn Bhd. The programme allows potential buyers to purchase homes via a five year rental leasing deal during which they are disallowed from renting out their home to a third party. A proportion of the buyer’s monthly rental would be kept aside as savings that they can either take back upon expiry of the lease or utilise as down payment for the home if they decide to buy it. A sale and purchase agreement will be offered at the end of the lease and if they do decide on acquiring the house.

(The Edge Property, 14/08/2018)


10 JOHOR LOCAL COUNCILS IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE

In 2017, 10 out of the 16 local councils in Johor faced a financial deficit. Four local authorities had no money for development purposes and were short of money for expenses. The 10 local councils facing financial deficits are Batu Pahat Municipal Council, Muar Municipal Council, Pasir Gudang Municipal Council, Segamat Municipal Council, Simpang Rengam District Council, Tangkak District Council, Labis District Council, Mersing District Council, Yong Peng District Council and Kota Tinggi District Council. However, the Johor State Government will fund the development projects and other expenses of these councils.

(The Sun, 17/08/2018)


JOHOR COMMITTED TO CONTINUING ISKANDAR MALAYSIA BRT PROJECT

The Johor State Government is committed to continuing the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project to provide convenience to the public. The BRT will be implemented for the Johor Bahru-Kota Iskandar, Johor Bahru-Skudai and Johor Bahru-Tebrau routes.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018)


UMLAND LAUNCHES RM333 MILLION SUASANA ISKANDAR MALAYSIA

United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) has launched the RM333 million Suasana Iskandar Malaysia (Suasana IM) in the Johor Baru city centre. Sitting on 1.42 acres of freehold land, “Suasana IM” is a mixed development comprising a serviced residence named Suasana Iskandar JB, which will be the first 5-star “Amari Hotel” in Malaysia, and a retail podium named the Zenith Lifestyle Centre. The 35 storey “Suasana Iskandar JB” serviced apartment comprises 339 units that come with the latest smart home technology resulting from a partnership with Samsung Malaysia Electronics. With built ups ranging between 644 sq. ft. and 1,235 sq. ft., the units will be priced from RM1,100 per sq. ft. The Amari Hotel will offer the finest in Thai hospitality with 242 rooms, the Breeze Spa, the Amaya Food Gallery and creative meeting venues.

The 2 storey “Zenith Lifestyle Centre” situated in the podium of “Suasana IM” will have a floor area of 55,000 sq. ft. and is the first lifestyle hub in Johor Baru’s city centre which showcases international retail, food and beverage and entertainment experiences right on the newly-landscaped streetscape of Jalan Wong Ah Fook.

(The Edge Property, 13/08/2018 & The Edge Financial, 14/08/2018)


LANDFILL PROJECT POSTPONED

The Johor State Government has postponed the Bukit Payung sanitary landfill project following a protest by villagers in the area. The technical committee will identify a new site for the project, which will serve as a waste centre for five local authorities in Kluang, Muar, Batu Pahat, Simpang Renggam and Yong Peng. There are 13 landfill sites in Johor, most of which have been closed due to them reaching full capacity.

(The Sun, 16/08/2018)


APPROVAL FOR PENANG LRT EXPECTED BEFORE THE END OF 2018

Federal government approvals for Penang’s light rail transit (LRT) and the massive Penang South Reclamation (PSR) scheme are expected to be obtained before the end of 2018. Reclamation works for the three man-made islands is scheduled to commence in early 2019, whereas the LRT project will tentatively commence operations in January 2020. The RM8.4 billion LRT will form part of the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), which will include the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1), a monorail, cable car and water taxis.

(The Edge Property & The Star, 11/08/2018)


PENANG FERRIES FACE UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The Penang State Government is unsatisfied with the plan to enhance Penang’s ferry services, which has been stalled with no clear direction of its future. In May 2018, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, which took over the running of the ferry service from Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) was cash-strapped and could not provide a clear indication of its plans. The Ministry of Transport had announced in early August 2018 that Prasarana would be allocated RM90 million to upgrade the ferries and terminals, RM21 million of which will contribute towards buying new passenger ferries. A total of RM13.7 million from the allocation would be spent on repairs on six existing ferries over the next three years.

(The Star, 17/08/2018)


PLAN WAS TO HAVE SEVERAL MORE FEEDER FERRY SERVICES

The Penang State Government plans to have ferry terminals not only between the mainland and the island, but several more on the island for feeder ferries to transport passengers from one point of the island to another by sea. Besides the terminals at Butterworth’s Penang Sentral and Weld Quay on the island, the Penang Transport Master Plan advocates five other smaller terminals in Straits Quay on the island, which is now being reclaimed off Tanjung Tokong, Gurney Wharf, The Light, and Queensbay Mall.

(The Star, 17/08/2018)


YFG SECURES RM40 MILLION CONTRACT FROM ATTA

YFG Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary, YFG Engineering Sdn Bhd, has been awarded a RM40 million contract from Atta Global Group Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Atta Properties Sdn Bhd, to undertake main building works, infrastructure and landscaping works for a project on Penang island. The project comprises the construction and completion of 62 apartment units and 38 office units within a 23-storey building.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 13/08/2018)


PENANG SENTRAL TO OPEN BY THE END OF 2018

The first phase of the integrated “Penang Sentral” transport hub at Bagan Dalam in Butterworth, Penang, is scheduled for opening by December 2018. “Penang Sentral” comprises seven phases, of which three phases are currently under construction. A retail mall, office tower and business hotel are scheduled for completion in 2030, whereas a future phase will include serviced apartments, SOHO’s (Small office Small Home) and a commercial development.

(The Edge Property, 14/08/2018 & The Sun, 15/08/2018)


85TH MAZDA OUTLET LAUNCHED IN GEORGE TOWN

Bermaz Motor Trading Sdn Bhd opened its latest Mazda branch and 3S centre on Jalan Jelutong, GeorgeTown, on August 9, 2018. With a built-up area of 24,138 sq. ft. and land area of 39,992 sq. ft., the 3S centre is one of the largest outlets in Malaysia. Mazda Jelutong’s showroom has a maximum display capacity of 14 Mazda vehicles and is a full-fledged 3S centre equipped with seven work bays that are capable of servicing up to approximately 500 vehicles a month.

(The Sun, 17/08/2018)


AFFORDABLE HOMES IS THE WAY FORWARD FOR DEVELOPERS

Following a decline in demand for expensive housing units, building affordable homes would largely benefit developers. Data from the National Property Information Centre (Napic) stated that 58% (2,383 units) of 4,092 unsold residential units in 1Q18, were priced from RM500,000 and above. Of the 2,383 unsold units, 901 units were priced at RM1 million and above, while 1,482 units were priced above RM1.5 million. Napic defines unsold units as those that have not been sold within nine months after completion.

(The Edge Property, 16/08/2018 & The Star, 17/08/2018)


SARAWAK CORRIDOR ATTRACTS RM79.3 BILLION IN INVESTMENTS

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score), which is now entering its phase two of development, has attracted approximately RM79.3 billion investments from both the private and public sectors. Approved total private investments in 22 projects involving various industries amounted to RM33.6 billion and with a total investment of approximately RM18.5 billion, ten of the projects, which are mostly “energy-intensive and heavy” industries, are already operational. For the 12 remaining approved projects, two projects are in construction stages, two others are undergoing site preparation works and eight projects are under negotiations.

(The Star, 13/08/2018)


HSL SECURES PETRONAS MRSM CONTRACT WORTH RM101 MILLION

Hock Seng Lee Bhd (HSL) has secured a RM101.19 million contract for the proposed construction and completion of the MARA Junior Science College (MRSM), in Bintulu, Sarawak, from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas). The project sprawls across a 40 acre site of hilly terrain and the contract period spans 36 months, whereby physical construction works are scheduled for commencement in September 2018.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 15/08/2018)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton